Amish Friendship Bread

The other day, Leah came home from work with a Ziploc bag full of mush.

I looked at it skeptically.

She handed it to me, along with a single sheet of paper with printed instructions.

I looked at it skeptically.

“Will we do it?” she asked. “I mean, I can take it back to someone else, if you want, but it makes really good bread!”

I looked at it skeptically, but agreed.

After all, most of the instructions are “mash the bag,” and I like to bake anyhow.

That’s how I got my hands on an Amish Friendship Bread starter. The process is very simple. You follow the directions every day (most of the directions really are “mash the bag,” for the day) and then on the 10th day, you bake one part of it into loaves of sweet cinnamon bread, and divide the rest into new batches of starter to give to your friends. It’s kind of like a bread dough chain letter.

The resulting bread is very, very sweet (honestly, a little sweet for my tastes), but tasty. I opted to add raisins, which went well. Now that I’ve made a batch, I can start to see how I might make some adaptations to the next batch. The bread is moist, with a muffin-like crumb. I think it would make very good muffins, actually. The recipe below are the steps that accompanied my batch of starter.

amish bread

Amish Friendship Bread

Amish Friendship Bread

Please Note: As the bread starter rests over the next 10 days, air will build up in the Ziploc bag. This is normal. When you notice air building up int he bag, let it out. Do NOT refrigerate the bread starter.The bread will rise and ferment in the Ziploc bag.

Day 1: Do Nothing
Day 2: Mash the Bag
Day 3: Mash the Bag
Day 4: Mash the Bag
Day 5: Mash the Bag
Day 6: Add the following to the bag and mash it all together:

  • 1 Cup of all purpose flour
  • 1 Cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 Cup of milk

Day 7: Mash the Bag
Day 8: Mash the Bag
Day 9: Mash the Bag
Day 10: Follow the Instructions below to make Amish Friendship Bread

Pour the entire contents of the bag into a non-metal bowl. Add 1 1/2 Cups of flour, 1 1/2 Cups of sugar and 1 1/2 Cups of milk. Mix well.

Measure out 4 separate batters of 1 cup each into (4) one gallon Ziploc bags. Keep a starter for yourself and give the other bags to (3) friends along with a copy of this recipe.

Note: If you keep a starter for yourself, you will be baking every 10 days. This bread is very good and makes a great gift. Only the Amish know how to create the starter, so if you give them all away, you’ll have to wait until someone gives you a starter back. Should this recipe not be passed on to a friend on the first day, be sure to tell them which day the bag is on when you give it to them.

Baking Instructions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

1) To the remaining batter in the bowl, add 3 eggs, 1 cup oil, 1/2 cup milk, 1 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanillla, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 2 cups flour, 1 large box instant vanilla pudding (1 cup raisins or nuts optional)

2. Grease two large loaf pans. In a small bowl, mix an additional 1/2 cup sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Dust the greased pans with half of this mixture.

3. Pour the batter evenly into the two pans. Sprinkle the remaining sugar/ cinnamon mixture.

4. Bake for one hour. Cool bread until it loosens evenly from the sides of the pan. Turn onto plates. Or bake mini-muffins for 20 minutes, regular muffins for 40 minutes.

Note: If you google for Amish Friendship Bread, you can find recipes for starters and even kits you can buy with mix for starter in them. We inherited this one, so I don’t know how to tell you to make your own. Apparently, I’ll have new batches of starter every 10 days or so, though, so if you’d like one of your own, just let me know!

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5 Responses to “Amish Friendship Bread”

  1. Test Subject #2

    That was quick! Looks yummy-I’ll probably have some for breakfast. 🙂

    I’m going to stop reading your blog and go to bed now…

  2. Ysobel

    I think that Granny and I might like some of that – did you give all of your bags away?

  3. Teri

    I have one left. It’s yours. 🙂

  4. Sarah

    My mom and I have done this (or something like it) several times over the years. Something similar is the “Herman” starter (unfortunately you have to scroll down the page to find it). There are directions for making a starter and recipes for stuff other than bread. I’ve made the coffee cake (which was amazing – I used Leah’s maple syrup for the glaze) and possibly the pancakes (it’s been a few years). Anyway, it’s yummy, but I’m not a fan of having to bake something every ten days to get it used up.

  5. Teri

    @ Sarah

    Yeah, that does look similar. Except for the website, which is straight out of 1997! 😀

    I think I’ll probably pass on all 4 starters for this next round. Once more is gonna be enough for me.

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